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Strattons Restaurant

Ash Close Swaffham Norfolk PE37 7NH

Strattons is a highly individual boutique hotel, and very much one of our favourite places to stay in the area, but it has always been a foddie kind of place. Vanessa Scott, its owner, is a gourmet by trade and by nature, and the restaurant here has been a dining mainstay for Swaffham folk for some time now, serving great British food that uses local produce and ingredients with real invention, bursting with country flavours. Situated in the lower ground floor of the main hotel – what they would have called 'The Rustic' when the hotel was built – is a relaxed place to eat, in common with the rest of Strattons, and serves a confident, short menu of half a dozen starters and main courses that changes with the seasons. Head chef Julia Hetherston (late of the Lavender House in Brundall and Raymond Blanc's empire) makes the most of the access she has to top-quality produce, so you can expect wild asparagus and mushroom dishes, organically sourced fruit and vegetables, plus free range venison and game – think Binham Blue souffle or wild rabbit en-croute followed by slow-cooked belly pork or brisket or beetroot tarte tartin. And that's not forgetting the puds, which are Julia's passion. We are talking real food here, beautifully cooked, presented and served, and simply and moderately priced – and matched with an impressive wine list that has an excellent range of reds.

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